Home / VA BENEFITS / Service Records: Proving Your Eligibility

Service Records: Proving Your Eligibility

In order for a veteran to show they’re eligible for benefits, they must first present the VA office with an official copy of their DD Form 214/215, or NGB 22/22A, which are some of the most significant documents issued by the military. They are a requirement for all VA business and inquiries in addition to several state and federal veteran’s benefits programs.

DD Forms 214 and 215

For active-duty members and members of the Reserves, DD Forms 214 and 215 are considered documentation of military service. DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge provides the VA with time in reserve and active-duty, military job, awards, education, dates and locations the individual entered and left the military, military assignments, and reason for leaving the service and characterization of discharge. DD Form 215, on the other hand, records and corrects any mistakes that might be added to DD Form 214 after being delivered.

Of these forms there are two versions:

  • The deleted version can be shown to promising civilian employers during job applications and it omits the characterization of discharge and reason for discharge.
  • The undeleted version is mandatory when applying for VA benefits and includes discharge characterization and reason for discharge.

When processing for departure from the military, veterans should obtain a copy of the deleted and undeleted versions of the DD Form 214. If a copy was not received or went missing, a request can be made for a new one from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Getting replacement copies of DD Form 214, 215

The National Personnel Records Center is in charge of copies of all active-duty and reserve military records. For a request of a copy of any portion of military records, such as the DD Form 214/215, submit a signed copy of SF Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.

SF Form 180 is available for download from:

www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf.

Mail the completed form to:

National Personnel Records Center

Military Personnel Records

9700 Page Ave.

St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

(TIP)

To avoid mail time, it is now possible to request records online at www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/index.html. Also, because the federal law necessitates a signature on all records requests, a signature verification form must still be printed, signed, and mailed or faxed.

Duration of preparation

In the past, DD Form 214/215 requests could take as long as 180 days to process. Fortunately in recent years, thanks to Congress donating funds to upgrade computers, the National Personnel Records Center can process and mail DD Form 214 in as little as seven days. Not all requests experience such a quick processing time however, as the length of time to process can fluctuate significantly due to the type of request.

NGB Forms 22 and 22A

NGB Form 22, Report of Separation and Military Service, encloses information concerning an Army or Air National Guard service member’s National Guard service time, military job, decorations, reason for discharge, and discharge characterization, similar to the DD Forms 214 and 215 for active-duty and reserves. NGB Form 22A is used in making changes to a military record after submission.

(REMINDER)

The National Guard is associated with the individual state and not the federal government, so there’s not a central storehouse for National Guard records.

3560For a copy of the NGB Form 22/22A, a request must be made to the National Guard Adjutant General’s Office in the state from which the service member carried out their National Guard service. Contact information can be found here:  .

Military medical records

Every time a service member is given medical care from a military medical facility—including the very first physical examination each member must take part in during the initiation stages of service—their specifics are documented in their military medical record.

Medical records are important for the VA offices as well because they use them as evidence when defining whether or not a medical condition was caused or worsened by service time.

To request a copy of military medical records, send a written request to:

National Personnel Records Center

Military Personnel Records

9700 Page Ave.

St. Louis, Mo 63132-5100

(TIP)

You don’t need to request a copy of your military medical record if you plan to file a claim for medical benefits (covered in Chapter 4) or disability compensation (covered in Chapter 6) with the VA because when a claim is filed, the VA requests the record routinely as part of their criteria. Same goes for a claim for disability benefits from the VA, as it already holds a copy of your medical records.

Protecting Your Paperwork

Because DD Form 214/215 and NGB Form 22/22A are sensitive documents, it is important to insure the protection of these forms. Safe-deposit boxes at a bank or other lock boxes are secure locations for such records.

(TIP)

Soon after departing from the military it is advantageous to contemplate registering these documents with a county recorder or town hall, as most states permit individuals to record separation documents the same as any other momentous document. A negligible fee is generally required to salvage these documents at a later date.

(WARNING)

If public access to your documents is authorized by state or local law, it gives the public availability to your sensitive documents and can actually be detrimental in the effort to protect personal information. Make sure to inquire before registering.

8 comments

  1. claudius herald dye jr s.s. 277 38 5564

    need a copy of my military records thank you address is 907 st. rt. 534 s. w. newton falls ohio 44444

  2. I recently received official forms veridying my veterans status. previuous info was destroyed in the fire at the VA
    records center in St. Louis.
    Please let me know if and where I should send a copy of my veterans status.I have copies that contain official seals impressed in the paper.

  3. Theresia Lynn Capps-Olson

    Hi,

    I served in the AF Reserves beginning 1978, and transferred to the TX Air National Guard in 1980 (Houston, TX) with a short term of service in South Carolina in 1979 and in 1983 transferred to AF Reserves in 1983, returning to Houston, TX in 1984, finishing up my service in 1986.

    Where can I get a complete record statement showing my total active service time? I am trying to qualify for Hazelwood Act benefits and transfer them to my youngest son.

    I do have a complete set of record, the college is requesting a document showing total active service.

    Please let me know as soon as you can. My work number is (713) 369-9307 & cell phone is (832) 630-9546.

    Thank you for your help.

  4. It should also be noted that most veterans can obtain their DD214 thru the http://www.ebenefits.va.gov website. Register and get your advanced account and then you have access to TONS of useful things from your VA disability claims and eligibility letters to Education stuff to your DD214 and other items from your SERVICE record…usually they can be obtained in an hour or so. If you don’t have an eBenefits account you are missing out on a great resource.

  5. Eufemia Pickett

    Valuable writing , I was fascinated by the information ! Does someone know if I might be able to get a template NARA SF 180 version to use ?

  6. Need to find out how to get a copy of my veterans certificate of eligibility. How can I get this?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *